I am a sea bather, I swim in the sea all year round without a wetsuit in temperatures as low as 4°C (39°F) and have been doing this for the past 8 years. For the most part I go swimming with my fellow members of the Brighton swimming club at 7:30AM when no one else is around to see our cold water exploits. Once a year that changes. On Christmas day the swimming club swims at 11am when it is joined by a large number of none club members and as many as 100 people enter the water. It’s not just the extra company we have in the water, we are also watched by over a thousand people who line the beach and the groynes. Many of the swimmers don fancy dress costumes which, combined with the large crowds, makes it a fantastic event to document. The only problem is that it’s a very challenging environment to shoot in. I take my photos from the water with my Nikonos V waterproof camera.
Because the water is cold most people don’t stay in very long so I only have about 10 minutes to get my shots. It was really rough this Christmas so I did not get the chance to shoot many pictures but you can see the cream of the crop below, as well as some gems from previous years. It was so rough that the swim was officially called off to members of the public, not that it stopped anyone. Several people needed assistance getting out of the water and one individual needed rescuing by Eileen Remedios, Paul Smith and Fiona Southwell (all brighton swimming club members) and was taken away in an ambulance.
You can click on the images below see them on their respective Flickr pages.
Boxing day swim, Folkestone 2005